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Firefighter's widow has a message for the community

Posted at 1:53 PM, Oct 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-02 18:33:46-04

HANOVER COUNTY, Va. -- Melanie Clark, whose firefighter husband Brad Clark was killed on the job, shared a message with the community after a judge found a tractor-trailer driver guilty of killing her husband -- MOVE OVER.

"As motorists, I feel we have a responsibility to protect them while are responding to emergencies," she said.

She thanked the community for its support over the last two years and said while they did not celebrate the truck driver's conviction, it did provide some level of comfort.

She stressed because of Brad's death, Virginia was able to strengthen the state’s move over law in an effort to protect first responders and others who work along the side of the interstate.

"So, for our family, that is, maybe, the only positive thing that will come out of this. Is that hopefully we can save another family for going through the devastation that we have," Clark said.

She also mentioned a specialty license plate that honored her late husband and will raise money for a foundation that helps the families of firefighters who are injured or killed on the job.

Clark said she remembered her husband as an incredible man filled with laughter and joy.

"It is my hope that our community remembers Brad for the life he lived filled with passion and integrity and not solely for the ultimate sacrifice he made," she said.

Lester Labarge was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and reckless driving in connection to the 2018 crash.

He was driving along Interstate 295 in Hanover during Tropical Storm Matthew, when he lost control of his truck and crashed into the back of Clark's firetruck.

Clark was outside the truck assisting other drivers at the time.

Labarge could face up to 11 years in prison when he is sentenced in January.